I meet a lot of people in all areas of life. Often the first thing I find people saying after hello is “so what do you do?” During my decade out of work I often responded with “just a mum”. Now my response is a little different, but should this define my identity?
Our identity seems to be tied to what we do… but is it more than that? Are we more than what we do or achieve?
My younger kids at the moment are obsessed with the Disney movie Moana. If you haven’t watched it or heard the songs I’m sorry - but to give away one of the themes of this movie – it’s basically about a search for identity. Moana searches and eventually understands that her identity is not something she can go looking for but it is intrinsic to her. Along the way she meets Maui who also struggles with his own identity, for years he believed his identity rested on his achievements to impress mankind.
This movie hit some truths that I have been able to discuss with my kids, and if you have the opportunity to watch the movie for the millionth time as I have, I encourage you to talk with your family about what or where their identity comes from.
Life is filled with duties, starting with chores when we are young, then homework in school, job requirements in the workforce, obligations in the community, duties in marriage and relationships, parental and grandparental responsibilities in our families. Our duties are endless. Often they are noble, but when they become the source of our identity, they can destroy our souls.
At the end of the day, identity is not what we do but who we belong to… Moana and Maui realised that they belonged to family and community, they were created to be in this community and that touches their core, their identity.
How are we modelling this to our children? Do we expect too much of them, do we give them the impression that their achievement or lack of achievement defines them? Do our actions show them that they also are not what they achieve?
Ephesians 2:8-10 says we are God’s handiwork created in Jesus to do good works.
The works here or the “what we do” are second to who we belong to. Truthfully as I searched Ephesians I often read the phrase “in Christ and in him.”
Our identity is intrinsic, created and not tied to our own achievement.
And 1 John tells us that we belong to God, and we are part of Gods family.
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are. (1 John 3:1-2)
This verse starts with Love lavished on us. Love comes first and our identity then comes from that. And here we read that identity is found in family – Gods family.
Who do you think you are is one of the most important questions you will ever be asked. It is one of the most important lessons we will ever teach our children. The answer to that question will shape the direction and the way we live life.